A Strawberry Scarecrow & Sweet Potatoes

Last year the birds discovered our new strawberry bed and ate the one or two berries we let grow. It was easy for them to sit on the fence to select the next course for their meal. Now that we have some berries growing, it’s time to see if we can deter the birds. I don’t usually buy whirly-gig things for decoration, but I actually like this one and it has marbles. It even comes with a few extras just in case I ‘lose my marbles’, which I have been known to do from time to time.

I have heard of people using old CD’s, no not certificates of deposit, which are losing value quickly these days, but computer CD’s. Except for buying the occasional computer program or music CD, most people don’t use these anymore. With the advent of flashdrives and direct downloads from the internet, CD’s have quickly become obsolete. Well, we have a spool of unused CD’s that have been sitting around for a number of years, so I thought now I could put them to good use. All I need is a couple of old socks and some fishing line.

I wanted the socks to protect the cherry trees I am using for end posts. I figure if I hang the CD’s across the strawberry bed, it will keep the birds away…..maybe. It’s worth a try anyway. First I cut the toe off the sock, then cut it down the whole length. This way I can wrap it around the fishing line several times for cushioning. 

Then I wrapped the sock/line around each tree and tied it off, creating a kind of clothes line effect. This will easily hold the weight of the CD’s, but hopefully not the weight of a bird.

 
From here I tied a line to the CD’s using the hole in the middle. I thought about drilling a hole by the edge of each one, but then I thought the more wobbly the better. They still twirl about in the wind, which I hope will keep the birds away.

I tried to keep them up high enough that they won’t be in my way when I want to work in the bed, but low enough to deter birds. We will see if it works.

 
Next, I wanted to plant a few sweet potatoes. We grew a nice patch of sweet potatoes last year, but then found out we really don’t eat very many. I also agree with some other folks recommendations that it is better not to let them vine out all over, like I did, because then you have small potatoes everywhere the vine goes, and that’s a lot of digging.


So this year I am planting a few of our potatoes from last year that have sprouted in these large wooden planters. I think it will look nice, since sweet potatoes have beautiful vines. Then at the end of the summer, I can harvest the potatoes right out of the pots. It also gives us more room in the garden for other things.

The growing season is upon us and everything is green and lush. We’re getting plenty of rain to get everything off to a great start and school is almost out. Things are heating up all over the world, regardless of the season. Keep your eyes open, stay alert, and evaluate the information that is out there for yourself. Don’t take the words of the talking heads at face value. How will you get information when the talking heads are gone? Make sure you have your radio communications in order. The seasons of our world are changing and we will have to adapt, one way or another. Be ready.

Until next time – Fern

16 thoughts on “A Strawberry Scarecrow & Sweet Potatoes

  1. That is very good to know. Now if I could just get my cat to quit playing with them and pulling them down……It seems to have taken care of the birds. Too bad it doesn't work on possum and slugs! Thanks for the comment.Fern

  2. I have used CD's with my tomatoes this season…it has worked fabulously. We live in deep South Texas and the wind blows like crazy during the spring…. The only time I've noticed the birds being an issue is if my CD's get tangled up and aren't \”waving\” around. The only \”pest\” I'm fighting now is a possum who sneaks in at night for a nightly snack of tomato….UGH!!! 🙂 I just wish I had tried this with my peaches, maybe we would have enjoyed more than 6 out of my 60 that were left after pruning…maybe next year.

  3. In case we need to block light, for whatever reason, we use thick, heavy duty large, black trash bags and install them with duct tape. Then we put another layer of the same materials over the first one for a back up. To check it, we would go outside at night, and see if any light is visible. We've also purchased, but not put into practice yet, a bolt of heavy, brown canvas material. Hope this helps, and I hope that's what your question was leaning toward.When we lived in Alaska and we had periods of 24 hours of daylight, we put foil paper directly on the inside glass. We also used a heavy, double lined curtain to keep some of the sunlight out. But, you're right, you can see a light in darkness for a long ways.By the way, the reason we got dark brown canvas instead of black is for visibility purposes. We once had a chocolate lab and a black lab. Surprisingly, we could see the black lab on a dark night because he looked like a moving shadow. But the chocolate lab could walk right up to us and we could never see him. It was rather eery, but very interesting. So, we got the brown canvas, since it will hopefully not make a darker shadow like the black might. Food for thought.Fern

  4. Hey Fern and Frank! We use the shiny CD's and we THINK the fluttering that they do helps keep the deer from our plantings. Not sure about the birds though. We just bought bird netting yesterday to put over the strawberry/blueberry beds. We moved it this past fall to a sunnier location into a bed that was already hooped so when it stops raining here in Green Country near NWA I can get it out as the robins seem to be sitting in that part of the garden a bit too frequently for my taste buds to hope to get any blueberries/strawberries, both of which are coming on nicely in their new sunnier locations. (two beds now instead of just one). Last year the CDs were not over the strawberry patch and it was in way too shady of a spot (a new gardener lived here before us) so there were slim pickings indeed. I agree w/the visibility on the CDs as I can see them even in the nighttime with the very dim nightlights from the house as they spin around in the breezes and they are certainly visible when a car comes down the road in the daytime as folks ask what that bright light that almost blinded them was! The blueberries are a new crop for us so we'll have to see if they like their new locations. What say you on blackout curtains and such??? I was just out on the back deck last night when hubs went inside to the bathroom and I realized that our well shaded in daytime but frosted glass in the bathroom puts out a thirty mile beacon (well maybe three miles!). Any thoughts on blacking it out? ~Sassafras

  5. We've never grown or eaten Fava Beans, Fiona, so I don't know anything about them. Thank you for sharing this information, though, because it may help someone out.It is different seeing shiny things out in the garden. You know, it will be fine for now, but if there comes a time that we would rather not be noticed, I will take them down. Something to think about.Fern

  6. Yes, slips are the standard way to grow sweet potatoes. I just didn't give them much attention this year, so getting them ready to plant was at the bottom of the list. Thanks for the comment.Fern

  7. Are you aware that you should be planting sweet potato slips, not the whole potato. Sweet potatoes differ from regular potatoes.By planting slips you cut down on growing time.

  8. I love the CD idea! Ralph does a lot of \”burning\” and putting information and good things to listen to on CD's. They don't always work so we have \”junk\” but now I can put them to good use. {We listen to podcasts and useful things that Ralph finds online, it makes trips in the car time we can spend together learning and discussing things}. Gosh your planting is looking good! Our Fava Beans are blooming…did you know they can be planted in the fall for an early harvest..I just learned that about the Broad Windsor fava beans.

  9. We didn't do anything in particular to keep them from sprouting, Rachel. I think we were just lucky. We had them in a tub on the floor, under an open metal shelf in the kitchen – not the best storage place for potatoes. My regular red potatoes from last summer, had very long sprouts on them, kind of like what you described. We didn't think they would grow at all and were just going to throw them out, but I decided to put them all in a pile in the corner of the garden, and cover them with dirt. Now we have a giant potato bush. I'll put up a picture of it before long. Best of luck with your garden. It is a wonderful learning process. You will have successes and failures, and learn from each one. Dirt therapy is much more effective than any other therapy I know. Enjoy!Fern

  10. I am wondering about your sweet potatoes. You mentioned they were from last year. How did you keep them from sprouting over the winter? I bought some seed potatoes from a seed company in February and by the time I got them in the ground in late March early Feb they had 4 inch sprouts growing out of them. This is my first year gardening so I am gathering as much info from people who are willing to share. Thank you.

  11. I used bird netting to completely cover my strawberries from the ground up and over stakes and down around all sides. The birds went hungry and I didn't. mmm, love those strawberries

  12. That's a good idea, Marivene, thanks for sharing it with us. There are a few berries that are almost ripe now, but the plants are nice and tall and the berries are very hard to see. I wonder if the birds have even spied them yet. I hope my simple scarecrow works. I'll let you know.Fern

  13. I will, Kathi. If you see some pictures of fresh picked strawberries, then it will have been a success! The last few days have been windy, and the CD's sure are twirling around a lot. I just hope my knots hold and they don't go flying across the pasture somewhere.Fern

  14. Fern, the birds took most of my strawberries for several years. I would pick a small handful to 1 cupful each picking ( every 3 days) from a shallow raised bed nearly 50 feet long, next to the fence. 2 years ago, I bought three rolls of the small woven wire ( about 1/2\” squares), and bent it to make a curved cover between the fence & the front of the row. I overlapped the ends as I went down the bed, & put a square of bird netting over each end. The fence keeps it in place on the back & the first row of lodgestones keeps it in place on the front, but you could also use a row of stones to keep it in place in front. The first year I did that, my highest picking was 22 cups, & my average became 5-7 cups! I knew the birds were stealing the berries, but had no idea how many they were taking. To pick, I lift one section of the wire from the front, & pick the berries under it, usually sitting on a garden stool with the edge of the wire resting on my back (it's not heavy). The birds walk on top of it, especially the robins, & last year I watched from the garden bench at the other side of the yard as a robin hopped up & down on it, then 2, then 3 together. Then they gave up & went to the neighbor's bird feeder.

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